Chapter 4Posted on: April 30, 2011
Morning came very early in the Bahamas. By 6:00am, Jayme was doing her usual morning routine of stretches and Tai Chi. She found the Tai Chi focused her, organized her thoughts, prepared her for the day; the afternoon routine when she was at home, would be a vigorous karate workout; and evening would involve a half hour of Yoga to center herself, pull herself back together to analyze the days events. On vacation, she usually eliminated the karate, but added stretches and long walks for the exercise.
By 7:00am, a freshly showered Jayme was strolling leisurely onto the restaurant patio where the breakfast buffet was set. She had brushed her long shiny auburn hair up into a knot at the top of her head, secured by several decorative combs. Since she rarely wore any makeup while on vacation, Jayme looked even younger than usual and her face shone with false innocence. An oversized t-shirt over her bathing suit, revealed tanned slim legs, as Jayme moved through the tables.
Tantalizing aromas of scrambled eggs and conch fritters mingling with freshly brewed coffee filled the air. Pouring herself a cup of the thick, strong coffee, Jayme spotted the table filled with fruit. She piled her plate high with fresh mango and papayas, pineapple and melon. Although she wasn’t a vegetarian, fresh fruit to start the day worked best for her digestive system. As Jayme turned, she collided with the hulk of a man standing directly behind her.
“Oh, excuse me!” Jayme’s sharp reflexes quickly maneuvered the sloshing coffee so not even a drop reached the saucer.
“Good catch,” Mark Steele replied, taking in the lovely form before him at one glance. He stopped at her eyes. The most brilliant, vibrant green. “Do I know you?” He was sure they had met before.
Jayme started to roll her eyes upward, thinking ‘what an unoriginal line!’ Her emerald eyes stopped at his smoky gray ones. A synapse fired in the back of her brain, recognition sparked and faded as quickly. “I … I don’t think so,” she murmured in her low throaty voice, dropping her gaze down to his chest. She could see dark hairs curling out from behind the soft cotton fabric, where it was buttoned low. Her heart hammered in her chest, and she felt the heat rising in her face. She turned to find a seat on the verandah.
‘Like hell you don’t!’ ran through Mark’s mind as he stood there staring at her firmly muscled back, obvious through the bulky t-shirt. He had seen a glimpse of recognition in those gorgeous green eyes.. But where had they met before? The thought troubled him.
“Doctor Steele?” came the quiet, rich voice from behind the serving counter. With recent French heritage, Anna was a dark, striking woman with fine chiseled features. She had seen the look Dr. Steele wore on many of her own suitors face. The young Bahamian woman smiled knowingly.
“Huh? Oh, yeah,” and he held out his plate, not really caring what was put on it, looking out to the verandah. Mark took his breakfast of hotcakes and conch fritters to a secluded table, purposely turning his back to the mysterious green eyed woman. It would be easier to concentrate on where he might have met her before if he wasn’t distracted with her youthful beauty.. And those eyes. The random trails of thoughts soon turned to the medical magazine in front of him. Dr. Mark Steele relegated the incident and the woman to the back of his busy mind.
Jayme could still feel the color rise up her cheeks and her heart beat irregularly. What a gorgeous specimen of manhood, she thought. Just being close to him made her pulse race. She could still smell him, or rather his aftershave. Island Spice. Subtle. Clean. Very nice. Jayme wanted to turn around and watch this man. She wanted to watch him eat, see the muscles work in his jaw, in his throat as he swallowed. She wanted to see those smoky gray eyes look at her, and caress her body the way she would like to …… whoa! Jayme caught herself. What are you thinking about, girl??? You’re acting like a young school girl in hormone overdrive! She scolded herself. These feelings were very foreign, and they were best forgotten about, she reminded herself. Although Jayme felt it would be very hard indeed to forget what she saw in those gray eyes. She had to admit, to herself at least, that he did look familiar, however impossible that was.
Jayme returned her attention to the dive schedule in front of her, as she munched on strips of papaya, and desperately put the handsome stranger out of her thoughts. There was a dive boat leaving at 8:30, just an hour from now. This would definitely help her get her mind off men, or rather, one man in particular.
Glancing at her watch, Jayme decided she would have plenty of time to re-organize her gear and check her camera. On board, she would take and use two cameras. One was designed strictly for underwater use and was equipped with massive lights. As clear as the water was, colors were lost past twenty feet down. The water acted as a sun filter, red was the first color to go, then orange and yellow, following the spectrum. Everything looked blue and green once passed the forty foot mark. Taking external lights was the only way to get good, colorful pictures, Jayme found out early. Night dives produced exceptionally good footage, as the light deprived corals seemed to absorb the lighting and bounce it back at the camera. Then there were day creatures and night creatures. The ones that came out at night tended to be the most exotic, like lobsters and urchins. Perhaps she could talk the dive master into a night dive sometime during the next two weeks. The thought was very appealing. The second camera that Jayme would take with her on the dives was her land mini-cam. She used this one for all other shots, including on the boat, although it had a water resistant housing, it was not pressure proof and it helped her keep the image of being a tourist. Contacts like the cab driver, Caye, never knew about her underwater equipment. It would definitely take away her image of being a rookie!
Jayme pushed her now empty plate away and finished her coffee. Her thoughts now on making her dive arrangements for the week. The unsettling encounter with the handsome stranger pushed to the back of her mind.
Five days of diving added a sparkle to Jayme’s already heightened complexion. She was having a grand time. The diving was fabulous, the people she’d met were for the most part very pleasant, and there were no complaints from anyone she’d talked to about their accommodations or the way they were serviced. This would reflect in her final video, she thought. Jayme had noticed a while back, or was it Katherine who first noticed, that the video’s were better when she’d had an exceptionally good time. Was it the attitude that made the place look better? Or was it the place that made the attitude better? Did it really matter?
The evening of her seventh day of diving, Jayme sat toying with her food at dinner. Maybe I’m just tired, she thought, otherwise she’d never put up with the egotistical bore who invited himself to her table. The other couple, Marge and Jim Thomas from Anchorage, Alaska, were nice enough, and kept giving her sympathetic glances the louder this obnoxious fellow got.
Bruce the Bore, as Jayme mentally labeled him, was some sort of real estate investment agent from Phoenix. Jayme had met all three of her table guests that morning on the dive boat. Marge and Jim had been part of a group that were snorkeling. Bruce had latched onto Jayme straight out, being the only single female on board who didn’t look over fifty or under twenty. He had done his best to impress her with his dive expertise, which Jayme initially found amusing. To someone with as many years of experience as she had, it was all to obvious Bruce had just received his C-Card and this was his first ocean dive. Never one to openly embarrass anyone, Jayme had quietly corrected his improper assembly of his rental gear.
That had been her first mistake with Bruce. The second had been when she agreed to be his ‘buddy’ on the dives, much to the relief of their dive master, Daniel.
“Please, Jayme, you’ve got the most experience here and he has the least. I’ve got all these others to watch. Do me this favor, okay?” Daniel could not be argued with, for he was right. In this type of situation it was only logical. Although Jayme could have declined, she didn’t.
“Alright, but you owe me big time!” she told him, her jade green eyes twinkling. Besides, she thought, once underwater, what trouble could Bruce cause? Jayme soon found out.
First, Bruce had trouble descending, and in doing so got them separated from the group. Then during one of her best close up shots of a shy moray eel, Bruce yanked the regulator from her mouth when he got too close and tried to back paddle with his hands. Undaunted by the mishaps, once back on board, Jayme had smiled and told him to forget it when he tried to apologize. That was her next mistake, for he felt that if she would forgive him that, then Jayme must want him around… and he attached himself like superglue.